the reality of the yes

…was something my friend alice and i started saying some years ago. it’s the gulp-that-comes-after…that feeling of “oh shit, now what?” the reality of the yes.

today’s yes–one of them–is that my husband made it 30 years in the school system and we are blessed with the yes of his retirement as a school teacher. with politics and everyone certain our failing education system is the fault of the teachers, i wasn’t sure he’d make it and was half afraid he’d drop dead the day he retired. but as it turns out, he’s fine. so we bought a tiny trailer and in a few days we head out west for nearly a month “to look for america.” in 31 years of loving, living and raising four kids, we’ve only ever had one, week-long vacation alone. our 20th wedding anniversary when our baby was 10. she turned 21 this year.

that’s great, right? so many people have said, “you’re living my dream.”

one time, years ago when the kids were little, i was attending a PTA sponsored “boot scootin’ bbq” on the lawn of the elementary school. a woman with acrylic nails and palm-tree pants responded to my comment that when todd and i retired, he’d be fishing and i’d be writing. she said in disgust, not knowing that was much of what we already did, “you’ve been reading too many nicholas sparks books.” i hadn’t, in fact, read any, and it took a day or two to realize she thought i was in la-la land.

fast forward a decade: todd is retired and we are traveling america while i write in the shotgun seat. a few disney scripts, some treatments, a travel blog and certainly some human-geography-inspired fiction.

the reality of the yes. i made it to today. to this yes. i’m 52. the kids are grown and gorgeous, making their own way, finding their own paths in mind, body and spirit. todd and i are finally alone. heading west. seeing america like a couple of teenagers in “eddie the love wagon.”

herein lies the gulp. what will that be like?

todd and i are delightfully compatible. we can sit in the quiet, talk about life and words and things of the spirit. but we have never spent a month, day-in-day-out, alone in each other’s presence. straight up. no ice. just neat. and on the brink of this new adventure i wonder if the reality of the yes will not be neat. perhaps it is bound to be a bit messy, a little like those early years when we fought over how to tie the garbage bags. a couple of kids starting over, heart to heart, wading even deeper into the reality of the yes.

Today’s Manifesto

I believe in intelligent design, inspired by divine love.

I believe that the natural laws of the physical world offer universal truth.

I believe in the existence of both good and evil.

I believe that humans are triune beings of mind/body/spirit.

Through the rhythm of nature, I see the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth, and experience life at its essence as eternal, pointing to divine design.

As an eternal being, dwelling in a physical body, my mind connects the realms of heaven and earth through the sight of my spirit.

From my spirit connection to the divine, I understand that love and wholeness are available to all, in a cycle made complete throughout eternity.

Working on a “Book Trailer”

images Going to try my hand at creating a “book trailer” — most of you know I love creating video “medleys” of family gatherings…so I will try this here. We will see if my indy press will let me “release” it! Ha. They have fantastic taste and would never let me put something out that might distract from the real work of Lily Harp, my Florida mangrove novella. Stay Tuned…(that’s what my publisher always says)

Locally Grown Words Book Fair…with ME!


COME support local words & buy some Christmas presents @BOOKMARKIT !

Join us for the “Locally Grown Words” book fair–and look for my table at the East End Market…

Copies of my new poetry chapbook Like Summer Grass from Finishing Line Press will be for sale as well as copies of my previous book from WordFarm Press, Surviving Nashville: Short Stories. Plus I can tell you how to get the kindle version of my short story collection and I promise to be ready to spill all the latest “dirt” on my upcoming novella, Lily Harp & Stories, due out through WordFarm Press at the AWP conference in Minneapolis in April.

Come enjoy the local scene as authors chat about words, sign and sell their books, and generally create a sly ruckus at the fabulous independent bookstore Bookmark it at the East End Market  on Corrine Drive in Orlando.

Join us if you can…if only to keep me from looking like an unimpressive, unpopular, literary dork.


LSG with shadowsurviving nashvilleimage2

Like Summer Grass — book launch finally!

so after launching our four kids this spring…i am finally going to “launch” my new chapbook of poetry that came out in june through finishing line press! we will gather at my dear friends Janice and Seth’s in winter park on friday october 24th at 7pm. if you want to know where…email me and i will give you the scoop. its a “barton book launch potluck” and guaranteed to be a blast!